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Biden Campaign Goes After NYT For Publishing Op-Ed By Conservative Author Behind Some Of The Ukraine Allegations

Shelby Talcott on October 10, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign complained to The New York Times after it published an op-ed about Biden and his son by conservative author Peter Schweizer Wednesday.

Schweizer, a senior contributor at Breitbart, wrote a 2018 book titled “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends.” President Donald Trump has cited Schweizer in allegations about Biden.

“This leaves us with a critical question: are you truly blind to what you got wrong in 2016, or are you deliberately continuing policies that distort reality for the sake of controversy and the clicks that accompany it?” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, wrote Wednesday to NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet, according to a letter CNN’s Oliver Darcy posted.

Wednesday’s NYT op-ed is titled “What Hunter Biden Did Was Legal — And That’s the Problem.” Schweizer wrote that Hunter Biden used his father’s influence to make money in China and Ukraine and added that Washington needs to improve its financial disclosure laws for public officials.

The letter hit back at the decision to publish the op-ed. It described Schweizer as a “discredited right-wing polemicist” and added the newspaper has “had an outsized hand in the spread” of the “baseless conspiracy theory” about Joe Biden abusing his seat in office to help his son.

The letter also suggested the decision to publish the op-ed was an example of an “egregious act of journalistic malpractice” because The NYT participated in a “smear campaign.”

“We submit that the Times should publicly answer for these failures in reporting on this pressing issue fairly, accurately, and in a way that prioritized truth and judiciousness over sensationalism,” the letter continued.

Schweizer’s 2018 book discussed Hunter Biden being on the board of a Ukrainian gas company a prosecutor was investigating. It also included Joe Biden’s alleged efforts to get that Ukrainian prosecutor fired, Bloomberg reported.

“Our coverage of the Biden campaign and Hunter Biden has been fair and accurate,” a NYT spokesperson said according to The Washington Post. The spokesperson added that The NYT “will continue to cover Joe Biden with the same tough and fair standards we apply to every candidate in the race.”

The op-ed also mentioned Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ties to China.

“The op-ed makes an argument that nonpartisan government watchdogs would make, arguing in favor of a law that would prohibit self-dealing by those with government connections,” The NYT spokesperson said.

The Biden campaign pressured major outlets in September to stop them from allowing Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to speak about Ukraine. Campaign advisers wrote to executives at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News demanding Giuliani not be invited on air because of allegedly misleading comments about the Bidens, The NYT reported.

The NYT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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